Monday, September 2, 2013

but, if you pay attention, nothing is trivial.

Rolling out from the last stop in Montauk, NY, after a week off the grid. I feel my disconnect in a vastly physical way. Everything is cash only, and all I have is a useless piece of plastic, on a stretch of island without an ATM. I sacrificed my phone in my rush to assist a struggling black Labrador treading water and ropes just offshore at the beach, but even before, there is no reception out here, I had started leaving it in the rented house since it served me no purpose. half the weight of my backpack is an obsolete laptop, as there was no internet for me to connect to. useless pieces of plastic and circuitry that connected me to the future, but there is no future out here. Only yesterday.

The six of us, most of the Art Department for a Sci Fi film we had just finished shooting, had escaped the frustration and endless hours of working through futility and miscommunication to a house that was filled with the sleepy crust of childhood, of summers swimming and brown at grandma's house. We made meals together, we explored the local tourist haunts, the fishing boats, poked a beached jellyfish and had lots of ice cream and dollar beers. We napped on the beach, and we napped when we came home, wrung out with exhaustion from the sunshine and salt water, we played board games and read and jumped on the trampoline. We filmed everything, we secretly interviewed the locals (indigenous mermaids), and became zombies, camera pointed at the mirror, while we painted each other with lotion and flour, some of us choked and sputtered a fine ketchup blood, and for a brief moment, the outside world simply didn't matter.

It was like the mystical land of Brigadoon, or Avalon, where the worlds had started to drift apart, and time passed differently. At a bar full of pink cheeked fishermen, we learned how proudly, morally defiant the indigenous people were of things like cell phone usage, and of the tourists that define the economic structure of the island itself. The intentional separation from connectivity permeates the island's locals, a state of mind that directly manifests into reality, one that I hadn't realized I was in, until I boarded this train without a ticket and find myself struggling to maintain the here and now as the train hurtles me back into the future, where I came from. I have no idea how many emails and texts I've received from this past week, the voice-mails that wait for me, the state of my world when I return to it, and I'm walking straight into gig after labor intensive gig, but I can only count the seconds by the shadows of trees rolling across my skin, the minutes through the sleepy blinking of my puppy, sprawled across from me in a sunspot, in a red bag, in my heart. I can do nothing, I am trapped like a still frame, in my helplessness, trusting that everything is alright ahead of me, and in the five days that passed without me... but the clinging awareness of the duality of time, and the precious awareness we gave to our play hasn't dissipated yet. It feels almost like I acquired the ability to choose the speed at which I perceive reality, like a camera lens, to shift the focus of my gaze at will, rather than being required to point my attention at things by someone else's order of importance. I AM a time machine. Time and space and the world wheel around MY center of gravity, like my limbs as I shift yoga poses around my core, from Downward Facing Dog to Warrior 1, before exploding into Warrior 2. Thou art God.

The world is the same as I left it, but completely new and different. We all move through time at different paces, meeting up with college friends and family members brings us back, we step out of time briefly to a gap toothed reality that is still present, depending on who's eyes we are looking through. Coming back to the city, it looks like how I always pictured Paris, the city of layers, nuances and reflections of the future and past colliding, constantly shifting depending on the time of day, the way the light hits it, who looks at it, and where they were in time when it moved them. We try to see time as a straight line, because it's simple and easier to pretend we understand, but Einstein's relativity and Heisenberg's uncertainty suggest we already know better. Time travel is a matter of definition. We do it constantly, we just haven't redefined our concept of time to match what we instinctively know. An artist I chatted with recently described a finished portrait as a lie, because we are such different things depending on whose eyes are holding us - I have been/am daughter, granddaughter, sister, lover, friend, ex girlfriend, coworker, steamroller, confidant, boss... and everyone I encounter sees me completely differently, so a single freeze frame, a time, a specific context, an expression captured is a fragment, a glimpse, a joke compared to the entirety of who we are as a complete person constantly moving forward in time.

I return to the city a tourist, curious about my own culture for the first time in a long while. The people and places that I have tuned out in anger or embarrassment or in a sense of being disconnected from their reason d'etre, the weight of digging into those reasons seemed so overwhelming, so I brushed past everyone on my way to work. But there is so much for me to learn from how individuals in my immediate local reason with their reality. Looking past southern or jersey accents, and what seem like mundane choices evolved from feelings of having limited options, generations and economic boundaries... there exists so much more meaning to be derived than I was ever aware of.